President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has rejected the proposal to import an additional 300,000 metric tons of sugar, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said on Wednesday.
"He is the chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board and denied this in no uncertain terms," Cruz-Angeles said in a statement to reporters.
Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista has said the Philippines needed to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar to stabilize the commodity’s price in the market.
She said there was a shortage after Typhoon Odette damaged sugarcane crops.
Farmers' group SINAG cheered the decision not to buy sugar from foreign nations.
In a statement, SINAG executive director Jayson Cainglet said the president's decision will boost local sugar producers.
"It is high time for the Sugar Regulatory Board and the Department of Agriculture to support our local producers," he said.
"We should not go back to the previous practice of importing at first instance. We should import only what is needed and upon the explicit approval of the local industry," he added.
The group also said that sugar farmers are starting to harvest to allay worries of shortage due to the decision not to import.
United Sugar Producers Federation president Manuel Lamata said, “We adhere to what the President says.”
“I am thankful he is protecting the industry and on top of the situation,” Lamata said. —with Ted Cordero/NB/LDF/RSJ, GMA News